Brown and not out: North break through for first win of year
Winless from three games, and trailing by 20 points at the 10-minute mark of the third quarter, North Melbourne’s season was slipping away. They’d had more than double the inside 50s of Adelaide to half-time at Marvel Stadium on Saturday night, but the Roos had kicked a lamentable 3.10.
However helped by the Crows being down a man on the bench, North finally got bang for their buck in the third term. It was Ben Brown who led the way, kicking three goals for the quarter as North kicked six in a row either side of three-quarter time to secure their first victory of 2019.
Cameron Zurhaar of the Kangaroos (left) celebrates a goal with teammate Jack Ziebell.Credit:AAP
Brown was ably complemented up forward by skipper Jack Ziebell, who made amends for poor finishing against Hawthorn last weekend with two important goals.
Brown took advantage of some untidy defensive efforts from Daniel Talia, although the North spearhead was helped by some kind umpiring. Former St Kilda and Essendon star Brendon Goddard wasn’t overly impressed by the way Brown seemingly worked for frees, describing the situation as “outrageous”.
“Umps make a stand and say Ben, stop flopping or staging for free kicks,” Goddard said on ABC radio.
Ben Brown starred for the Kangaroos.Credit:AAP
But North made their own luck, dominating the territory and clearance battles on the back of a terrific game from ruckman Todd Goldstein.
By late in the game it seemed as though nothing was going right for Adelaide, as Josh Jenkins missed appallingly from point blank range. A popular tip to rise back up the ladder this year, the Crows’ find themselves with just one win from four games. Bryce Gibbs paid the selection price ahead of this game. Others may soon follow his path to the SANFL.
Crow Lachlan Murphy is tackled by Roo Scott Thompson at Marvel.Credit:AAP
Same Old McDonald
A sizeable chunk of North Melbourne fans had wondered how Luke McDonald had kept his place in the Kangaroos’ lineup for this game after a slow start to the season, having most recently been taken to the cleaners by Hawthorn goalsneak Luke Breust. By playing on Saturday night, McDonald reached the 100-game milestone, meaning that any sons he has will be eligible to follow his footsteps as a father-son selection at Arden Street, where his father Donald played 155 games. For several reasons, this could be McDonald’s last game for a little while. Adelaide star Eddie Betts had also underwhelmed early in the season but matched up on McDonald, Bettss quickly found some touch, kicking three goals for the first half. McDonald also sprayed a first quarter set shot, although he was far from the only North player to be wasteful in front of goal. Roos coach Brad Scott may avoid having to drop McDonald though. The defender arrived late to a first-quarter contest with Crows youngster Chayce Jones, hitting the Tasmanian teenager high. Jones was assessed for concussion and ruled out of the game, leaving McDonald vulnerable to the power of match review officer Michael Christian.
Betts rolls with it
To be fair, McDonald certainly can’t be blamed entirely for Betts’ goals. After all, the veteran isn’t considered one of the game’s greatest ever small forwards without due cause. He hacked the first goal of the game out of mid-air, while his third major – kicked during the second term – was similarly sublime. With a set shot around 50 metres out on the boundary line, Betts tossed away one of the Gatorade boxes stationed adjacent to the paint of 50 in order to make space for himself. He guided the shot through beautifully on the outside of the boot. Betts is an ornament to the game. He is due to play his 300th match next Sunday against Gold Coast at Adelaide Oval. Look forward to a week of celebrations and tantalising highlights packages.
Walker’s helping hand
Adelaide co-captain Taylor Walker was another player whose start to the season hadn’t reached any great heights. The skipper had just five disposals to half-time on Saturday night, but he was making them count, with three score assists. A searing 50-metre pass spotted up Betts for a first-quarter goal, while a handball along the ground gave Josh Jenkins a major early in the second term. Another well-weighted pass later in the quarter found Myles Poholke, only for Poholke to miss.
NORTH MELBOURNE 1.6 3.10 7.14 9.17 (71) ADELAIDE 2.4 6.6 7.9 8.11 (59)
Goals North Melbourne: Brown 4, Ziebell 2, Higgins, Cunnington, Zurhaar Adelaide: Betts 3, B.Crouch, Milera, Sloane, Jenkins, Walker
Best: North Melbourne: Brown, Higgins, Goldstein, Dumont, Tarrant, Ziebell, Pittard, Polec Adelaide: Laird, M. Crouch, Milera, Keath, Betts
B. Brown (North Melbourne) 7
S. Higgins (North Melbourne) 7
T. Goldstein (North Melbourne) 7
T. Dumont (North Melbourne) 7
R. Tarrant (North Melbourne) 7
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